OREM, Utah – Utah Valley held a 19-point lead at halftime but couldn't hold off a hot-shooting Long Beach State team in the second half as it fell 77-69 Friday afternoon at the UCCU Center.
"I don't fault our kids' effort but we did get a little passive in the second half. They came out and hit some shots and we got tentative," UVU head coach Cathy Nixon said. "We got a bunch of stops in the first half and that gave us the early momentum. There's not a lot of room for error and turnovers and missed shots really hurt us late in the game."
After falling behind 3-0, UVU (1-5) scored 20 of the next 22 points to take a 20-5 advantage. Junior Whitney Jenkins drilled two 3-pointers during the run.
The Wolverines continued their hot-shooting as they extended their lead to 22 points at 33-11 with 8:45 to go in the half.
The 49ers (3-2) later pulled to within 14 after seven straight points toward the end of the opening period, but Utah Valley continued to shoot the ball well as it took a 48-29 lead into the locker room.
UVU senior Sammie Jensen notched her sixth double-double in as many games this season in the first half alone with 10 points and 11 rebounds. Sophomore Taylor Huber led the Wolverines in scoring in the period with 12 points off the bench on 5-of-7 shooting. As a team, UVU shot 60 percent from the field (18-30) and 60 percent from distance (6-10) compared to just 33.3 percent shooting (11-33) for Long Beach State.
The 49ers rallied to start the second half as they scored 10 of first 11 points to cut it to 10 at 49-39. The Wolverines held the lead at 10 after a Huber 3-pointer with 12:25 to play, but Long Beach State scored 10 of the next 11 points once again to tie the game at 55-all with 10 minutes to go.
A 3-pointer from Lauren Spargo later gave the 49ers their first lead since the early stages of the ballgame at 59-57 with 8:52 to play. A Jensen free throw pulled UVU within one, but Long Beach State used a 6-0 run to pull ahead for good.
Despite the stellar shooting in the first half, the Wolverines shot just 22 percent from the field in the final 20 minutes (6-27).
Jensen finished with a 17 points and 15 rebounds for UVU, while Huber matched a career-high with 17 points of her own. Jenkins also topped double figures for the Wolverines with 10 points, and senior Cydne Gray dished out a team-high five assists.
Alex Sanchez led Long Beach State with 19 points. Chantel Dooley and Devin Hudson too reached double digits with 11 and 10 points, respectively.
James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information about Wolverine athletics, visit www.WolverineGreen.com.